I pressed the elevator button and waited, I was in my office. My only lifeline was my wife Nandini and my child Nishita. Nandini died and Nishita got kidnapped after that, I never got to know where’s she. I couldn’t fulfill my promise made to Nandini. Firstly I couldn’t save her and secondly, her only memory that was our daughter also got abducted. I and Nandini always used to promise each other that we’ll be bounded by each other like this forever and never leave each other’s side, not like other couples who forget their promise, we really meant it.
As my gaze went on the elevator door, I saw Nandini’s reflection on its door, she was resting her head on my shoulder smiling at me. I smiled and looked at my side to see if she’s really there but she wasn’t there. If anyone would’ve seen me smiling in loneliness, they would’ve thought I am a psychopath, but I could really feel her by my side. I moved my gaze to the elevator’s door again and it opened. I stepped inside and waited for it to stop till it reaches the fourth floor. I was in deep thoughts as usual.
My gaze shifted to my shadow, it seemed I am not alone but a girl is with me. Do ghosts come? Can some broken promises bring back the dead? I hope yes, because if this happens, I will get my wife back and she will take me with her. We promised we’ll live and die together, I would’ve never mind dying with her. The elevator stopped and I went out and walked towards my cabin. I took out my wallet and opened it, there was her passport size photograph I put in there long ago. I smiled.
“Nandini, if I am alive today, that’s because of Nishita, else I would’ve come to you long back, I hope wherever you’re, you might be happy,” I said to her photo and kissed it. Whole day went like this, time to time I talked to her photo and got engrossed in my work again. It was evening and it was time to go home after a long hectic day. I really missed the food she made. As I got home, I saw coffee cup on my bed with a tray. I so missed her at that time.
I sat on my bed and took a sip of it and guess what? The taste was same like Nandini’s coffee, yes my maids make coffee ready as I get home but before them, Nandini used to do that. “Manik sir,” said a maid. “Yes?,” I asked. “Your coffee is ready,” she told me. Then who made this coffee which was on my bed? “Wait a second, here’s my coffee, you already made it right? Why you made it again?,” I asked confusingly. “No sir, I didn’t made,” she answered and I was taken aback. If she didn’t, then who did? Nandini came?
“OK fine, keep it,” I said, she kept and went. I kept the cup back and leaned to the bed board closing my eyes. “Your wife is dead, here’s her body,” said the police man and I was shocked. I started crying as they took out her body from the ambulance and laid it on the floor. I moved the clothe from her face with trembling hands and on seeing her face, I cried even more. I held her back of the head taking her in a hug. I never got to know how she fell off the cliff and died.
I opened my eyes and realized I was sleeping, I was having her dream and that I was crying. I wiped my tears and had the coffee which had the taste just like Nandini’s coffee. I got really happy after that. It is eight months since she died and Nishita disappeared but still it’s so difficult for me to talk about it. I phoned the police. “Hallo, when the hell will you find my daughter? She’s missing since eight months,” I shouted over the phone. “We are trying and as soon as we find her, we’ll tell you,” said the police man.
I disconnected the call angrily and looked up. “Nandini please forgive me,” I said as if praying to her. I always used to sleep after I returned from my job. So I was sleeping and just then I felt a hand caress my hair. I smiled recognizing the touch and opened my eyes to see Nandini near me. I didn’t blink in a fear she will disappear. “Nandini,” I said and she hmmed. “Is it really you?,” I asked and again she hmmed. “Why didn’t you take me with you?,” I asked. She kissed my cheek smilingly and playfully nudged her finger lightly against my nose.
“I haven’t gone, I am here only,” she said and just then my phone rang and I turned to my bedside table to pick it up. I received the call and turned to her but she wasn’t there anymore. “Hallo,” I said while still staring at the other side of my bed. “Don’t you dare call police again, come to the jungle immediately if you want to save Nishita,” said a female angry voice and the call got disconnected. I smiled with a hope that my daughter will be in my arms again.
I stood up and went outside my house running downstairs to ground floor and sat in my car driving to the jungle. When I got there, I stepped out of my car and ran inside and got a call. “You’ve entered, now come to the left side, there will be a cliff,” instructed the female voice. I did as I was told and went towards my left searching for the cliff. It was getting darker as I walked inside. I got to the cliff and heard the shooting sound. I startled and turned to the sound.
It was Aalia, the girl who always had a crush on me. She had Nishita beside her, her wrist clutched in her fist. “Jump else I will kill your daughter,” she said aiming a gun at me. “No please don’t kill my daughter,” I pleaded. “Papa,” she said trying to come to me but she was under the tight grip of Aalia. “I threw your wife from here, because if you can’t be mine, you can’t be hers too,” she confessed and I got angry and went to her strangulating her. “Nishita is with me,” she reminded and I left her.
“If you want Nishita alive, go jump down the cliff,” she said angrily. “Aalia my daughter is alone, if I die, who will take care of her? Please give me my daughter,” I pleaded cryingly. “You won’t jump like this? OK I know how to make you jump,” she said and came to the edge of the cliff along with Nishita and stopped. “She’ll fall,” I said and she smiled. “Then jump,” she said and this was the biggest conflict I ever had in my whole life, one side it was about Nishita’s upbringing, if I die she has no one.
On other side, if I don’t jump, Nishita will die. I didn’t knew what to do. On not seeing me jump, she almost pushed Nishita making me scream, she clinged onto the edge of the cliff, her hand was in someone’s hand and the hand wasn’t Aalia’s hand. As my gaze went beside Aalia, it was Nandini who was standing there holding Nishita’s hand preventing her from falling. Her other hand held Aalia’s wrist tightly as she tried to loosen their hands by each other’s grip. Aalia looked at Nandini and started screaming trying to free herself from her grip.
She pushed Aalia off the cliff, she screamed and fell down while Nandini pulled Nishita up. “Mumma,” Nishita said happily and hugged her, Nandini smiled and hugged her back. I too ran to her and hugged her. “Whenever you were hallucinating me, you weren’t actually hallucinating but I was real, I told you I will never leave you, and look, I was with you everytime,” she told me smilingly and I smiled with tears in my eyes. “But you will go now,” I said with pain. “I won’t go anywhere leaving you and you also won’t go,” she said, her hair blowing by the slow breeze and her face glowing in the moonlight.
“But how?,” I asked. “Will I have to die? But Nishita,” I said and she caressed my hair. “Nope, you won’t die but you’ll be alive, no one can separate us,” she said and waved me bye and disappeared. I thanked God that I got to talk to Nandini for once before she went forever and that I got my daughter back as well. Ten years later, I was still not used to this loneliness and my heart condition also wasn’t good. My daughter went in coma.
When we met Nandini the day Aalia called me to jungle, Nishita would cry day and night for her mother and because of poor mental health, she went in coma. One day, I got a call from the hospital that Nishita’s condition had worsened. I ran from my office to the hospital. I rushed to her ward and saw all the monitors were blank. The old pain revived in me, I shook her trying to wake her up but it was of no use. Although I loved her both as a mother and father, she craved for Nandini.
Her funeral took place the next day and I cryingly burnt her body immersing her ashes. I was a bit happy that she has went to her mother and that she will get the love she always craved for. My life became like before where I had to work the whole day to make myself busy. I would often sleep during my office timings. “Papa, mumma and me are really happy, but without you we can’t be happy,” said Nishita’s voice in my dream. I opened my eyes and exited the office. I went to the same jungle where Nandini died and I jumped from the cliff and after a long time I landed on the stony floor injuring myself, slowly the world faded before my eyes.
* * * * * * * * * *
Manik, Nandini and Nishita lived happily ever after in the heaven as they were bounded by each other.
(A/N: this story was actually written for Mehbeer but as there are less readers, I decided to write on MaNan, do tell me how’s it)